Here’s our 4th edition of What to Watch this Weekend, and this time we’re changing things up a bit. Below you will find recommendations available to stream on a number of platforms including not only Netflix but also NOW TV, All 4 and Volta.
If initial critic reviews are anything to go by, fans of beloved children’s book “Anne of Green Gables” should fall in love with this new 8-episode adaptation which landed on Netflix today. Currently holding an impressive 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Anne with and “E” tells the classic story of Anne Shirley, (played here by 15-year-old Donegal actress Amybeth McNulty) a strong-willed orphan who transforms the lives of those she encounters after being sent to live with elderly siblings on Prince Edward Island in the late 19th century.
Critics are lauding McNulty for her fresh and nuanced performance, while others praise the darker and richer overall tones of the series compared to previous adaptations.
Give it a go: If you loved Anne of Green Gables and you are looking for something suitable for the whole family.
Give it a miss: If you like your drama a little less earnest.
Where to watch: Netflix
“Is there any practice less selfish, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people you love?” This is the question best-selling author Michael Pollan asks in the trailer for Cooked, a 4-part documentary series from Netflix which explores the connection between food, cookery and what it means to be human. Each episode focuses on a different one of the four elements of fire, water, air and earth and is based on Pollan’s 2013 book which details his attempts to learn how to cook several different types of food.
As one critic put it; “It’s a long-view history lesson in how innovations that we take for granted transformed the human species” and it makes for fascinating and humbling viewing. For example, in the episode that deals with air, Pollan explores bread, something that we all take for granted; “Bread requires a civilisation,” Mr. Pollan says. “You need people to grow the grain. You need people to harvest the grain. You need people to mill the grain and shape the dough, and it’s a cooperative venture.”
Give it a go: If you’re a foodie with a passion for history
Give it a miss: If you don’t want to feel guilty about what you eat.
Where to watch: Netflix
Do you work in advertising or digital media? Are you sick of the current “always on” social media obsessed generation? Do office politics drive you insane? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Happyish is the show for you. Led by Steve Coogan, this black comedy centres around a spiritually exhausted copywriter working at an international ad agency based in New York. Mad Men this is not; Happyish is angry, pessimistic, sardonic and takes cynicism to the nth degree, shining a harsh light of truth onto the impish grin of corporate America.
It may well be the case that this show might just be that bit too dark for some, as it was cancelled after just one season but personally, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Filled with engaging performances from its leads Steve Coogan and Kathryn Hahn as well as imaginative and off-kilter sequences; Happyish might not leave you feeling “Happyish” but it might make you laugh at all in life that makes you "angryish".
Give it a go: If you’re a self-confessed cynic.
Give it a miss: If you kneel at the altar of Apple.
Where to watch: NOW TV
Available as part of All 4’s “Walter Presents” series (a curated collection of foreign language boxsets) Eyewitness is a thrilling noir detective story set in Norway. Two teenage boys witness a shocking mass murder in a remote quarry during a clandestine rendezvous. The boys are afraid of both the killer and of having their secret revealed and so vow to keep the whole thing a secret.
An affecting coming-of-age murder mystery, Eyewitness garnered international acclaim, winning an international Emmy for its leading actress and was even remade in the US. All episodes are free and available to stream now on All 4.
Give it a go: If you liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or The Bridge.
Give it a miss: If police procedurals bore you.
Where to watch: All 4
Looking for an excellent Irish dramedy? Look no further than A Date for Mad Mary which is available to rent and stream from Irish streaming site Volta. Played winningly by rising star Seána Kerslake (of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope fame), the titular Mary returns home after a spell in prison to find that life has changed. Her best friend Charlene is getting married and Mary is appointed maid of honour but she’s been denied a plus one on the grounds that she won’t find a date. Mary becomes determined to prove Cherlene wrong but her attempts at dating are a disaster and she winds up feeling more alone… until she meets Jess and everything changes. Irish critics loved ADFMM and it currently holds a very respectable 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Give it a go: If you’re looking for an Irish story with wit and heart.
Give it a miss: If you’re not a fan of LGBT stereotypes.
Where to watch: Volta
Check out last week's recommendations here
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